A Knowing Heart

אֵלֶּה֩ דִבְרֵ֨י הַבְּרִ֜ית אֲ‍ֽשֶׁר־צִוָּ֧ה ה' אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֗ה לִכְרֹ֛ת אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מוֹאָ֑ב מִלְּבַ֣ד הַבְּרִ֔ית אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַ֥ת אִתָּ֖ם בְּחֹרֵֽב׃ (פ)

These are the terms of the covenant which the Eternal commanded Moses to conclude with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant which God had made with them at Horeb.

וַיִּקְרָ֥א מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֑ם אַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֗ם אֵ֣ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר֩ עָשָׂ֨ה ה' לְעֵֽינֵיכֶם֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם לְפַרְעֹ֥ה וּלְכָל־עֲבָדָ֖יו וּלְכָל־אַרְצֽוֹ׃ (ב) הַמַּסּוֹת֙ הַגְּדֹלֹ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָא֖וּ עֵינֶ֑יךָ הָאֹתֹ֧ת וְהַמֹּפְתִ֛ים הַגְּדֹלִ֖ים הָהֵֽם׃ (ג) וְלֹֽא־נָתַן֩ ה' לָכֶ֥ם לֵב֙ לָדַ֔עַת וְעֵינַ֥יִם לִרְא֖וֹת וְאָזְנַ֣יִם לִשְׁמֹ֑עַ עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: You have seen all that the Eternal did before your very eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his courtiers and to his whole country: (2) the wondrous feats that you saw with your own eyes, those prodigious signs and marvels. (3) Yet until this day the Eternal had not given you a heart to know (lev lada'at) or eyes to see or ears to hear.

Part I: What is a lev?

(ד) שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל ה' אֱלֹקֵ֖ינוּ ה' ׀ אֶחָֽד׃ (ה) וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת ה' אֱלֹקֶ֑יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ׃

(4) Hear, O Israel! The Eternal is our God, the Eternal is One. (5) You shall love the Eternal your God with all your lev and with all your soul and with all your might.

וְיָדַעְתָּ֖ עִם־לְבָבֶ֑ךָ כִּ֗י כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יְיַסֵּ֥ר אִישׁ֙ אֶת־בְּנ֔וֹ ה' אֱלֹקֶ֖יךָ מְיַסְּרֶֽךָּ׃

Know with your lev that the Eternal your God disciplines you just as a man disciplines his son.

לֵ֣ב חָ֭כָם יַשְׂכִּ֣יל פִּ֑יהוּ וְעַל־שְׂ֝פָתָ֗יו יֹסִ֥יף לֶֽקַח׃

The lev of the wise one makes his speech effective And increases the wisdom on his lips.

(ה) בְּגִבְע֗וֹן נִרְאָ֧ה ה' אֶל־שְׁלֹמֹ֖ה בַּחֲל֣וֹם הַלָּ֑יְלָה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹקִ֔ים שְׁאַ֖ל מָ֥ה אֶתֶּן־לָֽךְ׃ (ו) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁלֹמֹ֗ה אַתָּ֨ה עָשִׂ֜יתָ עִם־עַבְדְּךָ֙ דָוִ֣ד אָבִי֮ חֶ֣סֶד גָּדוֹל֒ כַּאֲשֶׁר֩ הָלַ֨ךְ לְפָנֶ֜יךָ בֶּאֱמֶ֧ת וּבִצְדָקָ֛ה וּבְיִשְׁרַ֥ת לֵבָ֖ב עִמָּ֑ךְ וַתִּשְׁמָר־ל֗וֹ אֶת־הַחֶ֤סֶד הַגָּדוֹל֙ הַזֶּ֔ה וַתִּתֶּן־ל֥וֹ בֵ֛ן יֹשֵׁ֥ב עַל־כִּסְא֖וֹ כַּיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃ (ז) וְעַתָּה֙ ה' אֱלֹקָ֔י אַתָּה֙ הִמְלַ֣כְתָּ אֶֽת־עַבְדְּךָ֔ תַּ֖חַת דָּוִ֣ד אָבִ֑י וְאָֽנֹכִי֙ נַ֣עַר קָטֹ֔ן לֹ֥א אֵדַ֖ע צֵ֥את וָבֹֽא׃ (ח) וְעַ֨בְדְּךָ֔ בְּת֥וֹךְ עַמְּךָ֖ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּחָ֑רְתָּ עַם־רָ֕ב אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹֽא־יִמָּנֶ֛ה וְלֹ֥א יִסָּפֵ֖ר מֵרֹֽב׃ (ט) וְנָתַתָּ֨ לְעַבְדְּךָ֜ לֵ֤ב שֹׁמֵ֙עַ֙ לִשְׁפֹּ֣ט אֶֽת־עַמְּךָ֔ לְהָבִ֖ין בֵּֽין־ט֣וֹב לְרָ֑ע כִּ֣י מִ֤י יוּכַל֙ לִשְׁפֹּ֔ט אֶת־עַמְּךָ֥ הַכָּבֵ֖ד הַזֶּֽה׃ (י) וַיִּיטַ֥ב הַדָּבָ֖ר בְּעֵינֵ֣י אדושם כִּ֚י שָׁאַ֣ל שְׁלֹמֹ֔ה אֶת־הַדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּֽה׃

(5) At Gibeon the Eternal appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask, what shall I grant you?” (6) Solomon said, “You dealt most graciously with Your servant my father David, because he walked before You in faithfulness and righteousness and in integrity of lev. You have continued this great kindness to him by giving him a son to occupy his throne, as is now the case. (7) And now, my Eternal God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David; but I am a young lad, with no experience in leadership. (8) Your servant finds himself in the midst of the people You have chosen, a people too numerous to be numbered or counted. (9) Grant, then, Your servant an understanding lev, to judge Your people, to distinguish between good and bad; for who can judge this vast people of Yours?” (10) The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

(ה) וַיַּ֣רְא ה' כִּ֥י רַבָּ֛ה רָעַ֥ת הָאָדָ֖ם בָּאָ֑רֶץ וְכָל־יֵ֙צֶר֙ מַחְשְׁבֹ֣ת לִבּ֔וֹ רַ֥ק רַ֖ע כָּל־הַיּֽוֹם׃ (ו) וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם ה' כִּֽי־עָשָׂ֥ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֖ם בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּ֖ב אֶל־לִבּֽוֹ׃

(5) The Eternal saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how every plan devised by his lev was nothing but evil all the time. (6) And the Eternal regretted that having made people on earth, and God's lev was saddened.

Part II: Who controls the heart?

(ג) וַאֲנִ֥י אַקְשֶׁ֖ה אֶת־לֵ֣ב פַּרְעֹ֑ה וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֧י אֶת־אֹתֹתַ֛י וְאֶת־מוֹפְתַ֖י בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃

(3) But I will harden Pharaoh’s lev, that I may multiply My signs and marvels in the land of Egypt.

(כח) וַיַּכְבֵּ֤ד פַּרְעֹה֙ אֶת־לִבּ֔וֹ גַּ֖ם בַּפַּ֣עַם הַזֹּ֑את וְלֹ֥א שִׁלַּ֖ח אֶת־הָעָֽם׃ (פ)

(28) But Pharaoh made his lev heavy this time also, and would not let the people go.

(יב) לֵ֣ב טָ֭הוֹר בְּרָא־לִ֣י אֱלֹקִ֑ים וְר֥וּחַ נָ֝כ֗וֹן חַדֵּ֥שׁ בְּקִרְבִּֽי׃

Fashion a pure lev for me, O God; create in me a steadfast spirit.

(כו) וְנָתַתִּ֤י לָכֶם֙ לֵ֣ב חָדָ֔שׁ וְר֥וּחַ חֲדָשָׁ֖ה אֶתֵּ֣ן בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וַהֲסִ֨רֹתִ֜י אֶת־לֵ֤ב הָאֶ֙בֶן֙ מִבְּשַׂרְכֶ֔ם וְנָתַתִּ֥י לָכֶ֖ם לֵ֥ב בָּשָֽׂר׃

(26) And I will give you a new lev and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the lev of stone from your body and give you a lev of flesh;

Part III: Two last models

(ו) וּמָ֨ל ה' אֱלֹקֶ֛יךָ אֶת־לְבָבְךָ֖ וְאֶת־לְבַ֣ב זַרְעֶ֑ךָ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־ה' אֱלֹקֶ֛יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ לְמַ֥עַן חַיֶּֽיךָ׃

(6) Then the Eternal your God will circumcise your lev and the lev of your offspring to love the Eternal your God with all your lev and soul, in order that you may live.

(ב) אֲנִ֥י יְשֵׁנָ֖ה וְלִבִּ֣י עֵ֑ר ק֣וֹל ׀ דּוֹדִ֣י דוֹפֵ֗ק פִּתְחִי־לִ֞י אֲחֹתִ֤י רַעְיָתִי֙ יוֹנָתִ֣י תַמָּתִ֔י שֶׁרֹּאשִׁי֙ נִמְלָא־טָ֔ל קְוֻּצּוֹתַ֖י רְסִ֥יסֵי לָֽיְלָה׃

I was asleep, but my lev was awake. The sound of my beloved knocks! “Let me in, my sister, My darling, my purest dove! For my head is drenched with dew, My locks with the damp of night.”